Mexico has the most amazing bus system I have ever seen, but it can also be the most confusing. Every city of size has a main bus station and they are called by many names: Centro de Autbuses, Cenrtal de Camiones, Terminal de Autobuses, Central Camionera, but use any of these phrases and everyone understands where you want to go. Leaving from any of these main stations was a simple process; I got in line, bought a ticket, and made my way to the correct waiting room (Sala). When I heard the departure announcement I lined up for my ticket to be checked, went to the correct bay, got a claim check for my luggage, boarded the bus, sat back, and relaxed.
However, when it was time to leave leave Bernal for Tequisquiapan, I had two choices: either return to Queretaro and catch a direct bus to Tequisquiapan, or find my way directly from Bernal to Tequisquiapan. With so much to see in Mexico it seemed senseless to repeat a route already traveled, thus I decided to try to figure out the bewildering system of taxi-vans, kombis, and colectivos that stream down the highways, hoping to end up in Tequisquiapan.
The manager of the hotel explained that there are no printed schedules and in many cases, no signs for bus stops; locals simply know by tradition where to stand and how often the buses pass by. But he claimed it was easy to get to Tequisquiapan.
“Take a taxi-van to “Ezekiel Montes. They pass by the hotel all day long,” he insisted
“Yes, and then in Ezekiel Montes you get a bus to Tequis.” Sounded simple enough.
Though I had hoped to get final instructions about the exact location of the bus stop, when I left the next morning the front desk was unattended. Instead, I inquired about transport to Ezekiel Montes at the first open shop I passed and was told I could catch a van at the next corner. Dutifully I waited. Twenty minutes. Half an hour. More. But not a single taxi van drove by. Fortunately, three local women had gathered outside the corner grocer and I put the same question to them.
“Oh no, you must go up to the highway to catch the van.” I groaned. Loaded down with my Continue reading
Because I often stay at hostels I was interested to learn some interesting facts about the differences in booking prices between the two largest hostel booking services on the Internet. A recent study by Reed Business Insight revealed that HostelBookers is, on average, over 8% cheaper than HostelWorld, and HostelBookers is now backing that claim up with a guarantee. If you find the same deal cheaper anywhere else, they will refund double the difference!
To celebrate this price promise they have launched a competition which will run over the next three weeks. Nine winners will take away some fantastic prizes, with three winners being announced every week between May 26th and June 9th. For the top prize HostelBookers has partnered with Travelex.co.uk to offer three lucky travelers the chance to win a Cash Passport pre-loaded with £1,000 (that’s British PoundsPanasonic camera, which equates to approximately $1434 U.S. dollars at today’s exchange rate).
Three entrants will win the second prize of a Panasonic Lumix TZ8 Camera, and three more will take away the third prize, a 32gb iPod touch. (Full details of the HostelBookers contest can be viewed here). Continue reading
Tours4Fun, an online travel agency, recently asked my permission to write a feature story about Hole In The Donut on their travel blog. I said yes with a little trepidation, for anyone who knows me or has been reading along for a while realizes that I am not a tour kind of person. But during the process of providing them with information, I learned a little about Tours4Fun and discovered they’re not your run-of-the-mill agency.
Although Tours4Fun is a full service online travel booking agency that arranges vacation packages in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, South & Central America, Africa and the Middle East, the fim’s corporate philosophy is anything but typical. I have long said that if we get to know one another better (as cultures), we will be less likely to want to kill one another. I strongly believe that international travel is one of the best tools we have to effect world peace. So imagine my surprise when I read the following on the Tours4Fun “About” page:
“We always believe that we are not merely showing new places to our fellow customers, but actually extending our knowledge of different ethnic cultures to our customers. The development of the understanding and acceptance of all different ethnic cultures on the planet earth will, in our eyes, allow us to live in peace and harmony.”
Intrigued, I read on. I was interested to know if there was anything else that set them apart. Soon, I discovered this paragraph:
“Tours4Fun provides purely guilt-free traveling pleasures for all those travel enthusiasts who have a desire to explore the world for less. We value the sentiment of a frugal traveler by offering Continue reading
Don’t look now but the open road is calling. Faced with onerous security regulations, endless add-on fees, and uncomfortable planes that squeeze customers in like sardines, more and more travelers are opting for the highways rather than the skyways. Americans are rediscovering the joy of driving cross-country with the wind in their hair, the music cranked, and the freedom to check out quirky attractions that would forever have been overlooked from 30,000 feet in the air.
This resurgent love affair is also revitalizing driveaway companies, services that match drivers with customers who want their cars delivered to distant destinations. Vehicles need to be moved for a variety of reasons, including corporate relocations, military transfers, and quite often in the case of snowbirds who want to have use of their own car at their winter home but don’t want to do the driving. Car owners pay Continue reading
This is no joke. TripAdvisor, one of the Internet’s most trusted sources for member reviews on attractions, accommodations, and restaurants, asked their members to reveal the cheapest, most comfortable lodgings around the world. The following two are at the top of the list; both are places on my travel wish list.
The Shiva Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. Average price per night: $9. Member comment:
“The guesthouse is right in the center of Bhaktapur, rooms with great view on Durbar Square. Breakfast at rooftop with excellent view on city and Himalaya’s. In times of festivals quite noisy in rooms at front side. The guys really make you feel at home.” Continue reading